mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Today's theme song comes to me from Ryan Van Sickle, a singer whose music has a country quality that I like. The original song was John Lennon's, but Ryan sings it now as part of the ONE campaign. This global effort hopes to take protest songs of years past and broadcast them to a new generation to inspire continuing social and political change.  (Vote for Ryan at the link above if you like his rendition too.)

As soon as you're born they make you feel small, by giving you no time instead of it all.
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all. A working class hero is something to be...

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, and you think you're so clever and classless and free.
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see. A working class hero is something to be.

There's room at the top they're telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill. A working class hero is something to be.

If you want to be a hero well just follow me.

This song is still relevant in too many ways, nearly half a century later. We have plutocrats who are 1) beyond the reach of prosecution, 2) unwilling to compare the value of workers lives with their own comforts, 3) insisting that they alone are responsible for their wealth, and 4) evaluating people as mere commodities from whom they can siphon more value.

Or, as this nice old lady succinctly puts it as numerous states roll back various legal protections for women...

Yes, today's post is entirely political.  It goes with the territory of this song and the ONE movement.

mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I would normally tell you that hacking a website is childish behavior akin to vandalizing a wall with spray paint.  This time, though, it looks a lot more "interesting" and purposeful than that.

Anonymous claims that it has collected damning government secrets and is threatening to reveal them.  The data file is encrypted and is currently available for download by everyone.  They will reveal the decryption key later unless the government reforms its sentencing guidelines for violations of terms of service.  Essentially, they're demanding that contract law be kept separate from criminal law, establishing some minimal barrier between democracy and plutocracy.  Otherwise, they will "detonate" their information bomb by releasing the key so everyone can read the information that they collected.

They are acting now because of the recent death of Aaron Swartz.  Today, they published their actions on the webpage of the United States Sentencing Commission (currently not responding).  Anonymous explains their actions in video and in their original announcement text on the website.  They chose to deface that government site for its symbolic value as the source of "federal sentencing guidelines which enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, by a jury of their peers -- the federal sentencing guidelines which are in clear violation of the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishments."

People can follow webpage links to download the pieces of the file that Anonymous has encrypted.  Anonymous will periodically contact media outlets and reveal partial contents to them for publication, as proof of the value in this encrypted file.  They have enough information for multiple files, and this "warhead" file is merely the first to be launched.  Although the original announcement at is not viewable at the moment, copies can be found elsewhere.  Follow those links for urls to the 9 file pieces (each piece named after a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court), or take the simpler route by downloading the torrent file.  Currently, I find copies of the announcement at these addresses:
Among the instructions linked above you can find a unix command that will assemble the file pieces into the whole encrypted file.  WARNING: DO NOT enter those commands exactly as written, or you will delete the contents of your hard drive.  Either learn some unix commands first, or ask someone you trust to explain the commands to you.  (Basically, you just drop the "rm" command from the end, but you really should know what you're doing before entering any instructions into your computer.  The pieces should be assembled in this order: Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan. )

"You can't stop the signal."
- Mr. Universe, Serenity

Stay tuned, as we all wait to learn what activity the government has been hiding from us.

I want out

Apr. 19th, 2012 02:47 am
mellowtigger: (Daria)
I said before, "I hope, when the time comes, that I have the presence of mind to escape." That time has come.

Feeling trapped in a crowd of dangerous people is a stressful condition. I guess I can excuse myself for feeling so out of sorts lately. I've increasingly lacked energy and motivation in recent months. I assumed it was just vitamin B12 problems, but now I'm wondering if persistent pessimism is taking its toll on me. I keep seeing bad (very bad) trends everywhere I look, and I feel dread, and I want escape.

Stone Soup

My government wants to keep u
p appearances rather than fix actual problems:

In West Saint Paul, about 20 miles southeast of where I live, economic conditions are so bad that some people are using laundry detergent as an alternate form of money. Other people throughout the USA are doing the same. Infrastructure cannibalization continues in Saint Paul as thieves stole $10,000 worth of copper tubing from a water pump station last summer and $2,500 worth of copper electrical wiring from Christmas lights last winter.

The Minneapolis 4th Ward is where I commute (by car or bicycle) between work and home. This area has a bad reputation locally. The 4th Ward, for instance, is where a good samaritan was killed last week for his bicycle while he was riding it to carry food to a neighbor. It's also where the tornado last summer did its worst damage to local homes.

Barbara Johnson represents the 4th Ward on the Minneapolis city council. It would be nice if she were concerned about the problems of the poor and needy, but she's actively working against them. She submitted a resolution to outlaw sleeping on public plazas. It's obviously aimed at inhibiting the Occupy protest. It's predictable that the proposal comes from Barbara Johnson, though, since she previously worked to ban outdoor couches while urging, "Our city can either look good or it can look tacky, and tacky is not what we want." Similarly, Minneapolis prohibits tents anywhere, whether on public or private property.

Nationally, Republicans are trying to cut food aid, even as record numbers of American citizens rely on it for meals. It seems that government is unwilling to address the problems of homelessness and poverty in any reasonable way.

My government wants to keep a well-armed domestic military:

Yes, I wrote "domestic". A company in Anoka, about 15 miles northwest of where I live, has recently secured a contract with the Department Of Homeland Security for 450 million rounds of ammunition. Another company has a separate contract for 200 million rounds. The USA population is only 313 million people, so that's enough ammunition to kill every man, woman, and child in America... twice. This department is not really a military force, so why is it arming to the teeth? There are also rumors (I can't confirm) that "the Feds" are buying up ammunition stocks at surplus stores.

Meanwhile, there are military helicopters running training missions in downtown urban centers. Chicago officials tried to reassure people with the explanation that the maneuvers are meant to "improve the military's ability to operate in urban environments". Whose urban environments? Ours? Nevermind that USA military force supposedly is forbidden by various laws from operating domestically.

My conservative "neighbors" want to be militarily armed and active:

Somebody in Arizona says that his group has planted land mines on the US-Mexico border and that his group is trying to buy a tank. Yes, a tank. Somebody in Texas threw not one but two small fire bombs at the office door of a liberal (Democratic) state senator. Somebody in California went into the home of a 32-year-old Iraqi mother and beat her to death with a tire iron and left a note telling her to "Go back to your own country." Neo-Nazis claim (no evidence yet) they are arming themselves for street patrols in Florida after the Trayvon Marton killing.

Not to be outdone by everyday citizens, conservative lawmakers join the escalation of power-demonstration. A state senator in Missouri is trying to nullify federal authority in the same broad way that the Confederacy did during its last attempt at secession (that led to civil war). But that's old news, right? Lawmakers in Arizona tried the same thing last year. Not to be upstaged this year, though, Republicans in Arizona have chosen Jesse Kelly as their candidate in this election to replace Gabrielle Giffords. Kelly previously urged people to join him in shooting a fully automatic M16 to help remove Giffords from office... shortly before a nutcase attacked Giffords with a gun and injured her brain while killing others. She is leaving elected office so she can work on her recovery. Welcome back to the American political process, Jesse Kelly.

I want out:

There's more, but I just can't keep up with all of the bad news.

I had considered moving to Canada, but I recently learned that they deny citizenship even to employed visitors if anyone in their family has an autism diagnosis. There's no chance that I, with my own autism diagnosis, could live there. I don't know where I could easily move. Any suggestions? I looked for my passport, but I can't find it. I guess I should start the long process of getting another one.

sources section 1: detergent currency, copper theft, 4th ward map, bicycle murder, sleeping ban, couches ban, aid cuts, record food aid
sources section 2: contract 450 million, contract 200 million, population 313 million, Chicago helicopters, domestic military
sources section 3: Arizona mines and tank, Texas bombs, California house invasion, Florida Neo-Nazis, Missouri secession, Arizona secession, Arizona guns
sources section 4: immigration denial

mellowtigger: (people not profits)
I finished that 3-day street medic training that I mentioned previously.  The sociology of street medicine is fascinating.

The class was a little bit different from what I expected. Much of it focuses on assessing injuries rather than "fixing" them. It's very important to determine which injuries need to be referred quickly to more highly trained professionals.  Street medics can use a cell phone to call 911 for an ambulance, the same way as any other person would do it.  City medical providers, however, will not enter any area that the police deem an "unsafe scene". The street medics will try to assist a person in such situations to move where the ambulance personnel can reach them.

Street medics offer assistance that is always optional; anyone can refuse help at any time.  Every intervention is always at the discretion of the recipient.  Consent is implied if the person is unconscious.  The instructors mentioned that when doctors or nurses come to help at a street medic station, they have a difficult time adjusting to this non-authoritative methodology. Like the Occupation movement in general, even the street medics have a non-hierarchical approach. The autonomy of the patient must not be compromised.  There is no "72-hour hold" to impose on a drunk person shouting obscenities at everyone, for example.

For the non-critical problems like strains and minor cuts, street medics carry simple supplies they can use to help until the person decides to find a medical provider on their own.   I had fun learning how to wrap someone's arm to support a strained shoulder. My first attempt produced a useless mess of stretched gauze. *laugh* My second attempt was much better.  I also practiced flushing out someone's eyes (brave volunteer/instructor) for when they have been pepper sprayed.

It was a good experience, and I'm glad to have learned through it. Because it is limited to only 3 days, it can cover only superficially the many medical interventions that could be more thoroughly explained in weeks of training for a topic like Wilderness First Responder. A class in CPR would also be a helpful supplement to the education. Because Minnesotans are prone to bringing their pet dogs along on all of their outdoor adventures, I also mentioned the Wildlife Rehabilitator Conference as a good place to learn a few skills in caring for 4-legged Occupiers.

It's a fascinating free class. The Occupation movement really is experimenting with a new kind of society. I like it.

Whether I join the street medic crew when I next visit the Occupation will be an important decision for me. My own B12-related tiredness makes me very reluctant to commit to something so significant when I may not have the stamina to follow through. I need to ride my bicycle to work a few times first, then I'll know how well my motivation holds up after such exertions. We'll see how it goes.
mellowtigger: (changed priorities)
I've signed up for a 3-day training as a street medic. It is similar to wilderness first aid training with Red Cross, but includes special topics like injuries caused by our own government representatives. Who could've guessed that peaceful Americans would need to learn about weapon injuries from "less lethal" weapons fired at us by our own police forces?  Interesting times have arrived.

"less lethal" weapon injuriesThe street medic class includes familiar topics like "head/neck injuries, illnesses/allergic reactions, heat and cold concerns, chemical burns", so it will also serve as a useful all-around training for emergencies.

Most of the media has wrongly assumed the the Occupation has declined to irrelevance like the Tea Party before it. Some people have noticed otherwise. I still intend to get involved again, although I'm not sure yet how I will contribute to the peaceful protests.

I'm still waiting for my energy level to pick up, since that barrier is the major restriction to my involvements. I'm disappointed that B12 and multivitamin pills haven't yet made any difference since eliminating the decade-long intestinal infection. The muscle cramps and twitches haven't ended either, so it might still be a very slowly progressing multiple sclerosis.

release the houndsRegardless, I'm still determined to do something to help out, since the plutocracy will not change on its own.  Even if the Occupation movement is 100% peaceful (which I support), I expect the establishment will grow increasingly violent in response when intimidation and legal wrangling fail to deter protests.

All that frustration will pile on top of worries about both high-priced gasoline (its contribution to the price of everything else) and a high-profile election year.  I expect changes to begin this year.  I intend to be at least slightly better than "totally unprepared" for them.  I will soon know some simple first aid.  I already have my useful bicycle.  I already have some large rutabaga roots sitting in the garden dirt.  I'm confident that I can endure any short-term problems.

mellowtigger: (people not profits)
I was not arrested last night. I was expecting arrest because the Hennepin County commissioners voted (unanimously, I'm told) to prohibit sleeping on the plaza from 10pm-6am beginning November 14th. The OccupyMN website published a call for protesters on that night for #occupyMinneapolis, and some new faces did show up to help promote a stand in solidarity.

Apparently, though, arrest will require a 2-step process: the county following its "rule" and slapping a Trespassing order on somebody, then the police arresting someone for disobeying the law by trespassing. We'll learn the legality of this maneuvering after it finally puts somebody in jail, where a judge will have to rule on this process.

day 39, plaza leftday 39, right

The Occupation here is still not as well attended as I'd hope, but the weather has turned cold and the nights have grown long. Most people are helping offsite, including an occupied home at Monique White's. Such luxury, their Occupation actually has tents and fire!

I came prepared with my usual sleeping bag / body bag combination. It works very well except for the problem with condensation. I still need to find a thin wool blanket to use inside the surface of the body bag so my sleeping bag stays dry. At least the temperature stayed above freezing last night... barely. And there was a steady breeze in the morning too. The body bag works really well in such conditions, though, so I stayed quite warm and comfortable. I kept the Legal hotline number on my arm in case I was arrested, but the night passed uneventfully.

day 39, sleeping in body bagday 39, Legal helpline

day 40, airing out body bagOnce I got home, I put the body bag and sleeping bag on the clothes line in the basement.  I like to let them air out for a day before using them again.  When I find a wool blanket to use, hopefully that wool will be the only thing that gets damp because of the moisture problem.

During the night, the online crowd kept us informed of the eventful night at Occupy Wall Street. Such attempts at eviction make me discouraged. Not discouraged with the Occupation, since it's clear that the trend is for evictions to merely unite the local community and make that Occupation stronger. Instead, I get discouraged in the ability of my government to understand and navigate the current crisis.

I believe that economic conditions will worsen in 2012. In such troubled times, shouldn't government be encouraging peaceful protestors as a "fire wall" that keeps disgruntled citizens from pursuing violent protest? But, no, instead my nation seems determined to eliminate its Occupations, leaving unhappy people without any obvious outlet for their discontent.

Yes, I'm discouraged that my government will find any way to cope with this crisis.  I was previously hopeful of the possibilities ahead of us, but now I'm beginning to think that the necessary change will be even more fundamental than I had anticipated.

version 3

Nov. 10th, 2011 11:07 am
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I went back and edited again my post about why I joined the local Occupation.

How did I forget to include voting reforms in the list?  Ranked choice ballots ("instant runoff") is necessary to make psychological manipulation of the electorate (fear mongering) a mathematical problem too intractable to solve.  Open source software and hardware is necessary to protect against election machinery fraud.  Public financing of campaigns is necessary to prevent moneyed interests from overwhelming the public debate.


Nov. 10th, 2011 10:43 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
I saw flakes of snow falling from the sky this morning as I walked to the local convenience store.

Hennepin County has voted unanimously to prevent sleepovers at the county plaza, staring Monday.  I absolutely intend to be there Monday night with my sleeping bag, body bag, and protest poster.

I was thinking about sleeping out there tonight, but I might wait until tomorrow to do it instead.  The Veterans For Peace are holding an all-night vigil from 6pm Friday to 6am Saturday in honor of Veterans Day on Friday.

mellowtigger: (liberal frustration)
Government figures claim one thing but act differently. Is this what it will be like during the next year until the election on November 2nd in 2012?

Minneapolis city claims to support its Occupation, but it prohibits tents.

Hennepin county commissioner Mike Opat claims to care for the poor and disabled and to help the chronically homeless, but he works to prohibit sleeping or placing posters at the Occupation outside his office.

Will it be a whirlwind of hypocritical claims of solidarity with the Occupation movement while secretly (or not so secretly) working to inhibit the protest?
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Life is unplanned. I have experienced unique events and learned unanticipated lessons during my Occupation of Minneapolis. I joined the Sanitation committee the weekend before this Occupation began on October 7th.

OccupottiesI have camped in the city.

I learned that fresh water and reliable toilets are the first necessity for any human habitation.

I learned that after 2 centuries, our government has made no provision for these necessities amongst the disenfranchised homeless.

I learned that some people will destroy these valuable resources just to satisfy their own whims, disregarding all consequences.

I learned that Minneapolis city and Hennepin county will actively evict people from sheltered underpasses into unsheltered areas.

Minneapolis towersI have slept amongst the skyscrapers.

I learned that Minneapolis government actively prohibits suspended tarps or tents at any location, including government plazas and private back yards.

I learned that sleep deprivation can account for the dazed and confused look among the homeless, without needing to conjure the phantoms of alcoholism or drug abuse.

I learned that two rabbits Occupied the Hennepin County government plaza before I arrived. They survive on grass and human trash amidst the landscape of concrete and asphalt.

I learned that some poor bird will slam into glass windows about once per week then fall upon the steps of the Hennepin county building to die.  I mourn them, bag them, and throw their corpses into the trash.

body bagI have slept in a body bag.

I learned that wind saps warmth and strength beyond what cold itself can do alone.

I learned that moisture from breath and perspiration is itself a dangerous element needing attention in any winter survival strategy.

I learned that I am more creative than my government, and I can benefit from my own ingenuity when government fails to serve the needs of its citizens.

I learned that political protest can take many forms.

Circle DanceI have danced with native Americans. (video here)

I learned that they begin with the basics, the four directions of the compass, just as the pagans do.

I learned that heterosexual life includes a lot more continuity between generations than homosexual life.

I learned that when multiple systems fail and the entire local environment is polluted with bad ideas and chemicals, the best choice may be to simply start over with a new paradigm in a new place.

Federal Reserve Bank monumentI have protested at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis.

I learned that they honor growth by erecting monuments to its name.

I learned that few people understand how money is created in America, that perpetual growth is required or else the system collapses.

I learned that when you find time to educate them, they agree that perpetual growth of debt is a root problem that needs to be removed.

I occupy.

I'm tired, I'm sore, I'm frustrated, I occupy alone in the small crowd, and I continue to work a part-time job.

I occupy nevertheless because the global crisis is already underway, and deep change is needed in our civilization.  I don't know how else to promote such change, so I occupy.

mellowtigger: (people not profits)
I slept in a body bag last night. It was very warm. You should always keep some part of it unzipped for ventilation.
  • The strong wind did not sap my warmth as it would have with just a sleeping bag.
  • The thick plastic added even more insulation against the cold.
  • The thick plastic will endure gentle use for many months, lasting through the long Minnesota winter.
  • Any precipitation can be easily avoided by placing an umbrella (or a garbage bag) over the opening.
Please share this discovery with other Occupiers that you know! It's probably the warmest outdoor experience I've had since sleeping overnight at the local Occupation in Minneapolis during the last month.  A tent would be better, but we are still prohibited from having tents here.

sleeping bag inside body bagposter by my body bag

Body bags are expensive.  I ordered online for my body bag at about $26 + $10 shipping (+$10 more for 2-day rush).  If any morgues, funeral homes, or medical examiners have samples or extra stock to donate, then I'm sure your local occupation could put the body bags to use during this winter season.

There will be an issue with moisture accumulation (from respiration and perspiration), so always keep a portion unzippered for ventilation.  I had my traditional (hiking) sleeping bag and mattress inside the body bag.  Each morning, you may still need to air out your sleeping bag and body bag to remove the extra moisture.  I only had one officer come to knock on the bag (poke it with his foot) to make sure a living person was inside.  Hopefully that sleep interruption will disappear as they become familiar with seeing my body bag on site at night.

#occupyWINTER , #occupyMINNEAPOLIS , and occupy everywhere.  :)
mellowtigger: (firefly)
Freezing temp, possibility of rain, and 50% chance of arrest.

The temperature is -4C (24F) in Minneapolis this morning. The weather will warm slightly this weekend, but there is still a chance of precipitation. Hennepin County is winterizing their plaza, and they are making both reasonable and unreasonable demands of the Occupation here. Apparently this memo came from, but I have not verified the source.  The significant part of the memo is this last paragraph:

Finally, as the temperatures fall and/or it begins to snow, it will become necessary that Occupy MN make further modifications to their occupation of the Government Center plaza in order to ensure personal safety and allow for snow shoveling, snow plowing, snow removal and snow storage. Once the first significant snowfall or severe temperatures are predicted and the temperature falls below twenty-five degrees, no sleeping will be allowed on the Government Center plazas between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. At that time, all portable toilets will need to be removed and the canopy will come down.

Someone said that "severe temperatures" means -4C (25F), but we are already below that mark this morning. We are told that this directive will be enforced this weekend, even though the county commissioners will not vote on the measure until Tuesday.  Every part of this prohibition stinks of First Amendment violation.  They're also insisting that we remove all signs.

I've already ordered my body bag to put around my sleeping bag to keep it dry from precipitation.  It will work much better than a tarp, since tents are still disallowed on the property.  I've worked out the text that I intend to place on a poster that I will place by me as I (illegally, it seems) sleep on the public grounds this weekend.

You Think A Tent In Winter
Is Neither Political Protest

Then What Do You Think About

Why Did Our Government
Become So COLD Hearted?


I hope that I can fit the whole message onto the poster board that I bought.  I also hope the county has issued a tough message not because they intend to go through with eviction but because they hope to make us "blink".  We're not blinking.  In my small group at tonight's general assembly meeting, we agreed that we want to fight to stay.

Meanwhile, I also hope that we can find a nearby location to use for logistics so we could keep donations, kitchen, and other supplies stored there.  The plaza makes a great place to convene, rest, and meet each other, but an indoor location for storage, food, and water seems very practical.  The problem, of course, is finding the location.
mellowtigger: (we can do it)
Infrastructure cannibalization precedes collapse. I've already written about that predictor. Now, someone has actually stolen a church bell for the copper in it. Really.

"The theft of this historic bell from St. Mary’s Cathedral is just the latest in a rash of alarming metal thefts across The City. The Police Department recently launched a special investigations unit specifically to combat such thefts."

Depression-era paintingAnd the price of food will increase sharply in 2012, according to predictions from the USDA.

Someone emailed me this photo of artwork in the Weisman museum at the University of Minnesota. It's from the era of the Great Depression. It's kind of sad, isn't it, that it's again relevant today? I heard that the sheriff's office had mentioned to Occupiers that a homeless woman with an infant were seen around our plaza, suggesting without asking that we help her out. We can provide immediate food and blankets, but we also have a list of local resources for the homeless that can offer much better services than we are equipped to handle.

The good news is that someone is working on a detailed plan for how to change our economy away from exponential growth. The bad news is that there's not enough gold on the planet to accommodate this global transition back to the gold standard. We need to pick a different substance as our value store. Besides, we need gold to make actual products, so we can't afford to stockpile it "uselessly" as a wealth store.

Lehrman’s historical model is the international gold standard of 1873-1914, an era of industrial breakthrough, global economic growth, and astounding price stability. As charted by his colleague John Muller, it was the most stable period of U.S. monetary regimes based on the Consumer Price Index.

I hope the Occupations can retain peaceful operation as more people join the movements in the spring season. The weather will be better, and the economy will be worse, so many more people will join the effort.

Stay involved. Stay peaceful. Stay creative. I remain hopeful for our future.
mellowtigger: (break out)
I remain committed to the pacifist ideals that I mentioned two years ago. I think it's a very good sign that the Occupation itself is focused on peaceful efforts that draw attention to the greed that manifests as corporate hypocrisy and government negligence.

Tea Party activists brought weapons, brought posters that mentioned spilling the "blood of patriots", and generally presented themselves in provocative ways. I had worried that they would be responsible for drawing blood as they lashed out against government and citizens. Occupiers, in contrast, bring food dishes and potted plants, bring renewable energy sources, and host yoga or meditation sessions for their calming influence. It's clear that they are the ones sacrificing their own blood to government desperation and outsider aggression.

I'm still hopeful, but some trends make me nervous. The militarization of police forces in America has badly skewed the relationship between these "peace keepers" and the average citizen. I'm beginning to think that England had the proper approach to disarm their officers. Instead, ours keep acquiring military hand-me-downs. Denver has become the next city to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse its Occupation tent city. The bigger cities are beginning to acquire angry combat veterans who are willing to fight because of wartime aggression used in cities like Oakland and New York City. The marines even have their own website.

Occupy Denver policeOccupy Denver rubber bullets

I think that Minneapolis has benefited from two factors. First, we have our own port-o-potties paid by donations, so sanitation and civility here have been maintained much more effectively than in other cities. Second, we still have no tents, so authorities may maintain hope that winter weather will break up our occupation without direct human intervention. (Hint: we won't stop because of the bad weather.) The local Veterans For Peace have created a permanent space at our occupation, although I see it attended by them only occasionally.

John Lennon quoteOccupy winter

I encourage people to break out of the military mentality. Creative solutions can allow a peaceful transition to the next stage in human civilization. The encouragement of greed is subtly incorporated throughout our economic processes.  Profit is not the problem, but perpetual greed is absolutely the root of the problem.  There is no unoccupied arable land left on Earth. We must establish a zero-growth solution (for our economy, population, and resources) that can sustain us indefinitely. Give us some time to work out the details. We are committed to this action.

Please pardon our peaceful chaos...


Oct. 29th, 2011 10:15 am
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
It was announced at general assembly last night that Wookiefoot will be playing at the plaza on Halloween night.

Share the news with locals.  It will be a lively evening at the Occupation.  :)

mellowtigger: (people not profits)
I advocate that "information is always free". I don't fully understand people who claim privacy or copyright to information, events, or depictions (written recollections or photo recordings) that should rightfully belong either to someone else, to no one, or to everyone at large. Paranoia about keeping some kinds of truths hidden or controlled is a strange twist of human psychology.

Here in Minneapolis I've heard paranoid objections from people regarding the recording of discussions. Yes, we livestream our activities. Why would it matter if someone records? Yes, the local Sheriff's office has tried to characterize this group as dirty vandals who cost taxpayers money. At first, local media tended to "take the bait" and accept the Sheriff's authority on the topic. I think they might be growing wise to the Sheriff's lack of impartiality. Indeed, local media performed much better during an incident this week with a box of riot gear. Someone left a box at our kitchen table. The box included bricks and a sign that read:

-- bricks
-- large but throwable stones
-- gasoline

Gee, is there anything obvious about that obvious obviousness?

Justified:  Occupiers notified officers on site about the man. An officer questioned the man at the light rail station then let him go. Yes, they let him just ride away. Later, the Sheriff's office released a statement about the box that led to full-blown hyperbole from the local NBC station that seems merely to reproduce their statement for them. The Independent and even FOX were much more thoughtful in their evaluation. Previously, (or so I'm told) officers gave someone a $700 ticket for smoking a cigarette on the plaza, and they gave him a notice of trespassing to make sure he doesn't visit the plaza again. A man drops off a box of "riot gear", though, and they let him go. Do I detect something incongruent in these responses?  Fertile ground for paranoid theories.

Just sad:  Similarly, Bob Carney Jr., a local Republican advocate, attends our nightly general assemblies and then publishes statements about this Occupation such as, "Communists, "hooligans on the left" seek to shape Occupy agenda. Carney has observed extensive involvement in the on-going Minneapolis event by leftist, socialist, and Marx/Lenin Communists." Sure, there are Socialists involved. I've told you so myself, but I also point out the presence of a wide variety of opinions. I try to avoid relying on tired old dichotomies just for their scare value.

Just a WTF:  Considering these experiences with journalists, maybe some healthy amount of paranoia is justified? But the Oakland group had gone so far as to actively chase away (sic a dog on someone) their local media! So we shouldn't be totally surprised when television stations then turned their backs on the protesters as the police launched their militarized assault. Sure the stations can be rightfully offended, but their dislike should never have led them to abandon their 4th branch role in government. Media is necessary to ensure public accountability from government, if media is functioning properly. The Washington Post, however, had the gall to stage a "pet the dog" defense of the assault in Oakland with their "pet the kitten" front page photograph.

Anyway... I try to resist the paranoia machine. I record, I write, I collect online, and I share what I encounter. This event-in-the-making belongs to everyone. I make no money from my efforts. My interest in blogging is entirely for bringing issues to light for proper discussion.

No problem can be solved if it remains ignored. I disapprove of secrets. Information wants to be free. :)
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
"Where were you during the Occupation?" I'm certain now that it will be a question that people ask in the future. This movement appears to be the beginning of many things.

The police asked mainstream media to leave... and they did... and then this happened in Oakland, California.

Additional video footage available:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Large numbers of police arrived from other cities with full riot gear including gas masks. They used tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbags launched from canisters, "flash bangs", and rubber bullets (and unconfirmed reports of LRAD use) on unarmed civilians whose crime according to the bullhorn announcement in one video was simply "unlawful assembly". All Occupations are claiming First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly.  Mayor Quan calls this action a "generally peaceful resolution".

These photographs from the eviction in Oakland, California, include: someone in wheel chair escaping the tear gas, a man injured near his eye by rubber bullets, a navy man with Veterans For Peace displaying a copy of the U.S. Constitution, a bean bag launched by police from a canister, and the tattered remains of a First Amendment poster.

wheel chairrubber bullets
police and tear gaspolice in riot gear

navy shows US constitutiontear gas from air
police with riflesbean bags from canisters
first amendment in tattersHope.  Yes We Are!

Why isn't this coverage blasted all over mainstream media? They offered a bonanza of reporting during the riots in third world countries, but media attention here still tries to depict the Occupations as hippies being filthy. Speaking as head of the Sanitation committee at #occupyMN, I challenge you to find an equally traveled area in Minneapolis that's cleaner than our plaza! China began its coverage by shaming American media's blackout, and now China itself has cracked down on coverage as they fear a spread of the protests to their country too.  The truth of events has been coming from citizen journalists.

Police earlier this year began sending requests to YouTube asking that they remove video depicting police violence. So far, Google has righteously refused to comply. I hope they continue to resist as American government response gets increasingly violent. Meanwhile, this is what your national government is doing with information:Liberty calls for your service. The hypocrisy is glaring at us as our government (via President Obama and Secretary Of State Clinton) rightly condemned police reaction to protests in other countries but fails to denounce the same reactions here in America. Will you answer, "On the sofa", when people ask you, "Where were you during the Occupation?"

Nobody is capable of arresting an idea. We want government to serve the people rather than the powerful, whether those moneyed interests come from corporations or government itself. We think you agree with us. The Occupation in Minneapolis conducts its General Assembly every day at 7pm. We are a non-violent assembly of peaceful people discussing the failures of our government, the abuses by our corporations, and what demands we will make to correct these problems.
mellowtigger: (people not profits)
The Occupation movement reminds me of what America has not had in a very long time: free and public discussions.
  • I visit my local occupation and hear Hare Krishna singers at one corner of the plaza and Sacred Harp singers at another corner.
  • I visit my local occupation and see the Republican party (promoters for candidate Ron Paul) alongside the Ecology Democracy party (promoters for candidate Ken Pentel).  I see representatives of the Independence party (Jesse Ventura) and the Socialist party.
  • I visit my local occupation and hear people call for majority vote to silence a dissenter during the general assembly, and I speak to remind everyone that "The voice of the majority is no proof of justice."
  • I visit my local occupation and find people directly addressing problems within their own organization while coming to consensus (eventually) on how to proceed even though a wide variety of opinions are expressed.
  • I visit my local occupation and participate in discussions about how to bridge that ancient divide between "the worthy and the unworthy poor", as local homeless people daily partake (and sometimes steal) our shared resources but only some of them assist us in our efforts.
  • I visit my local occupation and see controversy develop over centralized control of the website, and I see an alternative website appear.
The Occupation is providing a peaceful and democratic discussion. It is contentious, and it is slow, and it is inspiring to watch it unfold.

As people sometimes chant during marches and rallies here in Minneapolis, "This is what democracy looks like."

version 2

Oct. 23rd, 2011 10:26 am
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I went back and edited my post from yesterday about why I joined the local Occupation.

I had time to think about my first document while I was in my sleeping bag (without a tent) trying not to get wet in the light rain.  I reworded several places to improve understanding, and I added a new section at the bottom to explain the overall principles that motivate me.

mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
In the summer of 2011, I was unable to get a loan for a $35,000 house. I earn $20,000 per year. The loan officer calculated that monthly costs would be LOWER than my current rent. The officer would not accept my parents' co-signature on the loan, because the bank did not doubt my ability to pay. The bank just would not offer a loan to me.

I view debt as a serious obligation to be endorsed only rarely. I have been so successful at living my life without debt that two rating agencies could not even give me a credit score. When banks deny home loans that are clearly affordable and without any specific proof of risk, then our system is in need of significant change.

I want my protest to accomplish these specific goals:
  1. Abandonment of exponential money supply
  2. Separation of corporation and state
  3. Elimination of victimless crimes, including decriminalization of poverty
  4. Right to personal privacy, and right to public scrutiny of government
  5. Reform of trademark, copyright, and patent law
  6. Criminalization of resource depletion ("eating the seed stock")
  7. Legislation based upon evidence not dogma
  8. Voting reform such as ranked choice ballots, open source technology, and public financing
I think that the most immediate threat to our nation is the ballooning debt. Our banking system requires this debt to continue growing (exponential money) or else the economy collapses. I favor returning to the gold standard or some other supply of money based on material resources so that money represents actual finite wealth.  Oversimplified: "End The Fed".

I want my protest to propagate these general principles:
  1. Humanity should work in harmony with natural systems rather than in denial of them.
  2. Civilization should foster creative collaboration rather than exploitative greed.
  3. Government should serve people rather than corporations.
I am the 99%.  I eat, talk, and sleep amongst the occupiers at Minneapolis.

(Exponential money: , sections 3, 7, and 8.)


mellowtigger: (Default)

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